Weather Watcher

  • Go on a walk together and find a stick about your child’s arms length.
  • Take the same or different adventure to find a feather about 3 to 6 inches long.
  • When you find the two, tie a 6- to 8-inch string to the top of the stick and attach the feather to the end of the string.
  • Every day, any time of day, have your child go out the front/back door, hold the stick out and see if the wind blows it.
  • Questions to ask when they come back in:
    • Was the feather flying high? Low?
    • Where any leaves in the trees blowing?
    • Where there any clouds in the sky?
  • You can even make a chart in the kitchen for this or have them come in and draw what they saw before breakfast, after school, before dinner.
  • You can make a special Weather Watcher book.
  • This is supposed to be VERY fun so no pressure. It does not matter if they do it “right.” It is simply about going out with the intent to notice and then you ask gentle questions. Curiosity is what is most important from the child and from you as the one asking the questions.

How many colors are we eating?

  • Every time you eat, before you put the food in your mouth, everyone take a fun moment to notice how many colors you are eating.
  • Did you see any of these colors in the trees, plants, birds, animals, or anything else from nature today?
  • Maybe find the same colors in your clothes and wear those colors to match your food.
  • Go on a color walk down the road and count how many different colors you find in nature beginning with your front yard.
  • You can even do this while rushing to the car while you are late to get somewhere. “Who can find red in a tree, bush or animal by the time we get to the car?” 🙂

It’s All about fun, play and ease.

child smelling a flower

Focus:

  • To plant the seed for the fine art of being still, both in nature and within oneself.
  • To develop nature observation skills.

Playing with the story:

  • Play hide and go seek.
  • How many animal, bug and bird friends can you find in your neighborhood?
  • Take a walk together. Tell the children that when you give them a special signal—maybe a birdcall, whistle or gentle bell—they immediately sit down where they are. Then they are to be quiet and see what they see, and hear what they hear!
  • Search together until you find a cricket, a bug, a slug, or any other creature. When everyone has had an opportunity to observe this new friend, tell the children it needs to be returned to where it was found. Can they remember where that was? Did they notice anything special about the place where it was found? Did it live there, or was it just passing by? Did it blend into its surroundings? Why?
  • How many of the animals in the story live near you?
  • How close can you get to wild animals without scaring them?

Special note: If a child is throwing tantrums or generally having a hard time (maybe because he or she wants to squish, trap or keep some bug, bird or animal), tell this tale with gentle emphasis on being still, and breathing slowly and deeply. This often has a calming effect.

About the story: This story is from Tales From Earth to Sky, told & sung by Wendolyn Bird. It was inspired by the book Play With Me, by Marie Hall Ets. You can purchase Wendolyn’s book and CD of 11 stories and accompanying songs here.

 

Chickweed, Stellaria media

In the days of old, in a time so far away and not so far away at all, all people were surrounded by and with the natural rhythms of life. Animals died and animals were born right in front of their eyes. Grandparents that lived in the home would die and everyone would come together to remember them with tears and laughter, hugs and warmth. The beloved doll that was given and then torn apart by the sheep dog and the outgrown beloved coat no longer able to be worn was mourned, remembered, cherished and finally let go of. Death was as natural and accepted as birth.

The Sun went to bed early, the night arose earlier, fear of the Light never returning came and great celebrations were partaken of to find solace in such times. These were natural adventures that all new were just that, Natural.

Where has that time gone? What has brought us to fear speaking about the cat that just died or the neighbor next door who passed away? I have yet to meet a child that was actually scared of embracing all of this when presented to them in a natural, calm, caring and loving way. The key word here is Natural.

Below are a few ideas to play with in order to explore how death, and birth, lives in your body, heart, mind, and emotions. I offer these explorations with the intention that they will aid you in finding your greater feelings about Death and in turn that will aid you in supporting your young one(s) as they too explore the natural experiences of death. As they naturally experience birth/life.

osprey catching fish

Nature Awareness Game:

  • Bring your awareness during a day to what your child wants and then cannot have — this is a type of death for them
  • Notice at the dinner table what you all are eating — something has died to feed you
  • Notice if you use the word die/death during the day. Example: That ice cream was “to die for.”
  • Bring your awareness to the life around you and how that feels

And, if you wish, add a Welcoming Spirit to this all.

In the Spirit of Play, Have Fun.

Death and Birth, Birth and Death, The Circle of Life.